Ciaran McDonald has been added to the Mayo GAA senior football side's backroom team ahead of the start to the 2020 season.
The move will be warmly welcomed by Mayo fans given the former Crossmolina star is somewhat of a cult hero within the county. As well as playing intercounty football for 14 years however, the forward also won an All-Ireland club title with Crossmolina Deel Rovers in 2001. In recent years he has been working with underage set-ups within Mayo GAA.
In a statement released by Mayo GAA, McDonald said:
I am really delighted to have been invited by James [Horan] to join his back-room team. I really admire the work being done behind the scenes and the highly professional way in which James is moving it forward. I am excited about both the approach and potential of these talented players over the coming years.
We saw some great new young players coming onto the field this year and there is a good pipeline of talent coming through thanks to the good work being done at underage and academy level throughout the county. I hope to add to that and will assist in every way I can. I'm really relishing the opportunity to be back involved with the Mayo senior football team once again.
In the same statement the Mayo manager also welcomed the announcement. He said:
He brings a wealth of experience, vision and skill to our coaching set up and this will also fit in very well with the development phase we are currently in with this senior squad. 11 years on from his last senior appearance for Mayo, Ciaran is still being acknowledged nationally as one of the finest exponents of the modern era.
He is also a player's player – someone who made his own opportunities on the field of play, creating some outstanding moments and demonstrating great flair, fitness, endurance and individual talent. I know he will bring all that innate ability and commitment to this present squad.
The intercounty side are back in training already ahead of their league campaign which begins away to Donegal in Ballybofey on Saturday, January 25. Before that, the reigning league champions will play Galway in the semi-final of the FBD League on Sunday, January 12, with the final due to be played seven days later on Sunday, January 19.